Unum’s Field Investigations Getting Lengthy And Invasive


Requests for field visits should never be considered “routine” or “normal and customary” as insurers like to suggest. Although field investigators have absolutely no authority or control to make claims decisions, information obtained and fed back to claims handlers can be used to justify claims denials.

In today’s environment where “everything you say to insurers” is used against you, it’s important to understand and be prepared to remain in control of the field interview and not allow insurers to “fool you” into showing work capacity where none exists.

For example, recently I heard from two separate insureds that Unum now has a 15 page template of questions field PIs are asked to use when conducting interviews. Insureds and claimants are told the interviews will take 4 hours! The “4-hour rule”, so-called, wasn’t chosen by chance since the capacity to sit, or alternate sitting and standing for 4 hours is identifiable as part-time work capacity.

Insureds need to think for just a moment. Is there realistically any occupational, financial or medical information that should take 4 hours to relate? Interviews that go on and on for 4 hours are those asking personal, and/or family related questions for the purpose of keeping the individual engaged long enough to prove part-time work capacity…

“Do you mow lawns? Laundry? Cook?” “Does your family help you clean house?” These are questions the insurance company wants to know in order to “equate” your daily activities with work capacity to deny claims…

Suicide Not Always Marked by Multiple Attempts


TORONTO — A majority of successful suicides had made no previous attempts and many had no established psychiatric diagnosis, researchers said here. In a small cohort, analyzed retrospectively, women were much more likely than men to have made previous attempts to kill themselves before eventually succeeding, according to Nisha Ramsinghani, DO, a psychiatry resident at the University of California Fresno.

That’s because more men than women use guns to commit suicide, and there’s nothing doctors can do for people who use guns, while women usually use drugs, and overdoses can be reversed.

And those with a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder or substance abuse disorder were also likely to have tried suicide at least once before taking their own lives, Ramsinghani said in a presentation at the American Psychiatric Association (APA) annual meeting…

“We usually think that previous suicide attempts are a risk factor for completed suicide,” commented Gaurav Mehta, MBBS, of Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, Ontario in Canada, who was not part of the study but who moderated the APA session at which it was presented. “This study showed that was certainly not the case,” he said…

PTSD Treatment Can Start Early Despite Addiction


In general, physicians have been reluctant to begin therapy until patients have been sober for 6 to 12 months…

If doctors prescribed medical cannabis, it could treat both the addiction and the PTSD.  Waiting for any amount of time to treat PTSD seems like a recipe for disaster, and likely just increases the problems with addiction.

Doctors Still Doubt Antidepressants Can Trigger Suicide


“My daughter committed suicide in 1988 one month after being put on a new medicine called Prozac. She was not depressed, but Prozac was prescribed for an eating disorder…

In 1990 the first hint of a connection between fluoxetine and suicide was published (American Journal of Psychiatry, Feb. 1990).

The Harvard psychiatrists noted in this article that:

“Six depressed patients free of recent serious suicidal ideation developed intense, violent suicidal preoccupation after 2-7 weeks of fluoxetine treatment. This state persisted for as little as 3 days to as long as 3 months after discontinuation of fluoxetine. None of these patients had ever experienced a similar state during treatment with any other psychotropic drug.” …

If you are taking antidepressants for anything except Major Depressive Disorder, please be careful.

Does FDA Care Whether Generic Drugs Work?


There has been a lively debate about whether generic drugs are truly equivalent to their brand-name equivalents. That has been stirred up even further by questions about the effectiveness of certain generic medicines, including some for ADHD, epilepsy or depression.

Q. I wrote to the FDA about the side effects of generic Prozac (fluoxetine). When I take this generic antidepressant I think about suicide a lot. I never heard back from the FDA. Apparently it couldn’t care less. As a result I have to pay $1400 every three months for a Prozac prescription. Generic fluoxetine is about $4, but it’s not even worth that much.

Bag handlers used security clearance to smuggle drugs, feds charge


It’s sort of an open secret that the biggest airport security loophole is not the travelers and airline crews who are scanned, frisked and prodded but rather the airport employees who come and go more or less at will. Case in point: the 14 baggage handlers arrested at Oakland Airport in California this week and charged with using their behind-the-scenes access to smuggle drugs around the country…

According to the complaint, the conspiracy was operating as early as July 2012. The defendants have been charged in a complaint with conspiracy to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, 100 kilograms or more of marijuana…

That’s a lot of bud, and yet none of it ended up in my hands. 😦

Woman sued by debt collector awarded $83 million verdict


Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC, one of the largest buyers of written-off debt in the U.S., tried to collect a $1,000 credit card debt from Maria Guadalupe Mejia, who insisted the debt wasn’t hers. She tried to explain that the person they were looking for was actually a man with a name that was similar, but not the same, as her name.

The company didn’t believe her and took her to court. In court, the debt collector could not or would not provide requested information, so the judge struck its pleadings. But the jury wasn’t finished.

After 5 days of deliberation, it returned a verdict, finding Portfolio Recovery Associates acted maliciously in its pursuit of Mejia. The defendant was awarded $250,000 in actual damages for violation of her rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The jury then added $82,990,000 in punitive damages.

Remember, it was the debt collector who brought the suit in the first place…

This is the best news I’ve read in, I dunno, years. 😀

More importantly, the case underscores of knowing your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)…

Of Quiet Birds In Circled Flight


I read once more the beautiful poem of Mary Elizabeth Frye, written in 1932 for a Jewish friend whose mother had died in Germany…

Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry;

I am not there. I did not die.

(Photo taken 5/1/2015.)

Flower Power

Wikipedia:  Flower power was a slogan used during the late 1960s and early 1970s as a symbol of passive resistance and non-violence ideology. It is rooted in the opposition movement to the Vietnam War. The expression was coined by the American beat poet Allen Ginsberg in 1965 as a means to transform war protests into peaceful affirmative spectacles. Hippies embraced the symbolism by dressing in clothing with embroidered flowers and vibrant colors, wearing flowers in their hair, and distributing flowers to the public, becoming known as flower children.

Flower Power could also be used for the environment. 🙂

Daily Windows updates

I don’t know when updates for Windows became a daily thing, but it’s as irritating as hell.  Every time there’s an update waiting, my computer goes bonkers.

Do you ever wonder how much of your downloading allowance is spent on these updates?  I mean, I’ve gone over my limit many (many) times, and I had to wonder how much of that overage is due to updates. I looked at my update history, but guess what?  The size of each update is not listed. Go figure. So, I’ve been keeping a log of the size of each update, and in five more days, I will have a monthly total.  Stay tuned.